"I don't know if I've ever seen him like this," a friend of West tells PEOPLE
In the past few days, Kanye West has reemerged publicly, returning to Twitter with a series of troubling tweets and giving a strange interview on the radio.
But many people close to the 40-year-old rapper tell PEOPLE that his private behavior has also been cause for concern. According to several sources, West has cut off contact with many members of his inner circle, including his managers, lawyers and closest friends — and he’s also had multiple arguments with his mother-in-law Kris Jenner.
(However, another insider tells PEOPLE that “Kanye and Kris have never had a fight, adding, “Just because Kanye is having a strong opinion does not mean that he is mentally ill or headed for a breakdown. It’s unfair.”)
Sources say that West will get so excited about his latest projects that he sometimes forgets to respect other people’s boundaries.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him like this,” a friend of West tells PEOPLE. “He’s all over the place. Excited. Loud. He’s sleeping very little, texting at all hours of the day or night. Coming up with ideas, sending them to people and instructing everyone to drop everything and collaborate. He truly feels like it’s the most exciting stuff in the world.”
“He’ll get something in his mind – a lyric or even a phrase, and he’s so excited that he’ll send 23 texts about it at 2:30 in the morning,” the friend continues. “It’s like he has discovered a cure for cancer. He’s that excited. And what he wants from you is to acknowledge that excitement and to reflect it back to him.”
“Everyone is super, super worried,” says another source close to the situation. “He just looks at you with a void. It’s like he’s mute and can’t talk and he just stares at you. The way he says things with such affirmation, he genuinely believes he’s God and a genius and that he can do everything on his own.”
However, another West source says that the rapper’s behavior isn’t out of the ordinary.
“I think a lot of that stuff is Kanye,” says the West source. “He’s always been like that. Kanye’s definitely the most genius and eccentric and erratic person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.”
“Kanye is a person who by nature just revs really high and is really active and expends a lot of energy and will work and work and work … and then hits a wall,” continues the source. “I’ve seen that a million times. I’ve seen him fall asleep sitting up, just from pushing himself, not sleeping properly. That’s part of being Kanye.”
“He wants to engage,” says the friend. “He wants to be friendly. He wants to talk to you. But it’s just a bit off. Like he’s being overly excitable about things that aren’t really that exciting. Kanye can be trying when he’s like this; it’s very hard to deal with right now.”
In late 2016, West was hospitalized for exhaustion after canceling his Saint Pablo tour. Fans saw Kim Kardashian West, 37, break down on Keeping Up with the Kardashians earlier this year as footage from that trying time finally aired.
The West source — who says the star “seemed great” during a phone call last week — adds that the rapper’s actions are also being seen “through a different lens” after his health issues.
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Multiple sources insist that West’s behavior, while alarming, doesn’t rise to the level of being dangerous — and that Kardashian West is doing her best to be supportive.
“Kim is trying to control him and the situation, but he can’t be controlled,” says the source about the couple, who are parents to 3-month-old Chicago, Saint, 2, and North, 4½. “She’s trying her best to support him on social media and show a different side of things, but it’s just not working.”
“I need to be clear: everyone is safe around him,” adds the friend. “Kanye says that she’s doing great, that she’s a part of his process. He loves her very much, and he’s really excited about the kids, as well, all of them. He talks about them nonstop. So if you take what he says at face value, everything’s fine at home. But Kim is right to be concerned.”
“But the truth is that people are right to be worried,” the friend says. “He’s not acting well, and he seems to be on the edge. I hope and pray he can get it together.”